Making disciples is the central direction of the great commission of Matthew 28.
I have lived long enough to see this endeavour go through some name changes.
When the late Dawson Trotman founded the Navigators in 1933 he set disciple making at the core of the organisation’s purpose. Many Christians of my vintage can testify to the value of the Navigator’s 2:7 course and to the Navigator’s emphasis on Scripture memorisation.
The title shifted in the 1980’s when Colleges changed course names from ‘Discipling’ to ‘Spiritual Formation’. This was sometimes accompanied by an unfortunate shift away from Gospel driven discipleship to all sorts of other motivating factors, I remember attending one Bible College conference at which we were encouraged to select ‘our’ leaf from a nearby tree and ponder it leading to our own spiritual formation!
I am not sure what it is being called today but I notice a growing emphasis for those in ministry to make ourselves more accountable by having a mentor.
With the complexity of life and ministry this is surely an important development. Many colleges are now offering training for mentors.
The Trust I work for provides mentors for preachers and for preaching, ministry of course is far more than preaching, but the Pastor gets to feed the flock once a week, and what a vital half hour that is in the midst of the other 336 half hours in the week. Preaching preparation no longer needs to be a lonely task.
Mentoring is built on personal relationship, sometimes it works other times it doesn’t, but when it works it is mutually encouraging, both for the mentor and the mentee, so choose well. It may be helpful just to have someone to talk to regularly about preaching, others like to set goals for themselves and ask to be critiqued according to those goals.
You can contact the Trust at eptrust.org.au to receive information about the range of mentors we have.
The Trust also coordinates Preaching Clubs and this year our special visitor will be Phillip Jensen who will preach and then speak on, ‘The future, obstacles and opportunities’, Phillip’s is a prophetic voice we need to hear.
Wahroonga Presbyterian Monday 15 May, 930am.
Abbotsford Presbyterian Wednesday 17 May, 930am.
Armidale Anglican Diocesan office Monday 14 August, 930am.
Lunch is provided, no cost but please register on the Trust’s website.